- Outdoor Guide
- Sponsored Content
Upcoming battle in the Shandaken farmstand wars
By Lissa Harris
5/3/11 - 7:51 pm
5/3/11 - 7:51 pm
Brace yourself for more farmstand drama: The Shandaken Town Board has voted 3 to 2 to hold a special meeting, on May 24 at 6pm, to discuss re-zoning a stretch of Route 28 in Mt. Tremper to permit more commercial activity. [Update: The date of the meeting has since been changed by the board to Wednesday, May 25 at 6pm.]
Here's a little background for the uninitiated. Hanover Farms, a 24-hour farmstand on Route 28, has been operating in blatant violation of Shandaken's zoning law for nearly a decade. The farmstand and its position of dubious legality have been a source of controversy for years, in a town already famous in the region for its ferocious politics.
In 2008, the town of Shandaken finally issued a citation to the farmstand, which is far larger than the 100 square feet permitted by law. Al Higley, the farmstand's owner, responded by threatening to hit the town with an expensive lawsuit.
It's like Fred Astaire says: Something's gotta give.
If Higley's supporters have their way, that something could be the zoning law itself. Shandaken supervisor Rob Stanley read the following statement at last night's town board meeting:
As I'm sure most of you are aware, the Town Board is considering extending the Highway Business Zone, currently ending at the corner of Route 28 and Route 212 in Mt. Tremper, to cover adjacent parcels on Route 28. The proposed amendment would re-zone properties on the south side of Route 28 from the Cottages at Rockcut Ledge to the Tonche Bus Garage. Along the north side of Route 28 the proposal would re-zone from Route 28 frontage 250 feet into each lot down to Car Craft Towing, just past Alyce and Roger's Fruit Stand. We will be setting up a special meeting to discuss this issue through resolution tonight. Another topic to be discussed is the creation of a new law to address farm stands in town. The Town welcomes your emails and comments on the proposals.
Left unstated was the elephant in the room: The zoning change is being contemplated in order to make Hanover Farms legal.
Before opening the floor to public comments on the resolution, Stanley urged the audience not to comment on the re-zoning proposal itself, but only on the decision to have a meeting. Nevertheless a heated discussion ensued.
Shandaken resident Kathy Nolan had sharp criticism for the idea of making significant changes to existing zoning law without going through a comprehensive town-wide planning process.
"Your decision to start this without doing town-wide planning is just a waste of time and money," she said. "The process of doing that kind of zoning change is very well laid out in state law. You're not following it."
Other audience members complained that public awareness of the zoning proposal wasn't as high as the board seemed to think.
"I had not heard about this zoning thing until yesterday," one man said.
The town board narrowly passed the resolution to hold the special meeting, with Councilmen Tim Malloy and Doris Bartlett voting no.
"Over this last week i've gotten bombarded with emalis from people who are for the farmstand, but against the re-zoning on this," said Malloy, explaining his "no" vote.
Bartlett said simply, "I don't feel this is the answer to the problem."
This isn't the first time the town has discussed changing the zoning around Hanover Farms. A Phoenicia Times story about a town board meeting in 2009 noted that re-zoning the area could potentially jeopardize the Route 28 scenic byway project, which is still in the process of seeking federal scenic-byway status:*
Former planner Al Frisenda, speaking in favor of Higley’s stand, meanwhile said the solution for Higley would be for the town board to re-zone the area to a Highway Business Zone.
It was noted that such an action, or any effort to remove the proposed controls in the draft law, would possibly jeopardizee Scenic Byway status for the rest of the Route 28 corridor.
Here's the text of the resolution passed by the board last night:
WHEREAS, The Town Board will hold a Special Town Meeting on May 24, 2011; at 6pm in the Shandaken Town Hall,
THERFORE be it resolved that a Special Town Board meeting be held to discuss a zoning amendment in Mt. Tremper.
*Update, 5/5/11: Alan White, executive director of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development (the organization spearheading the Route 28 scenic byway project) says that re-zoning the area would not have any impact on whether Route 28 gets a federal scenic byway designation.
"This relatively innocuous action does not throw out an entire scenic byway," he said. "Regardless of what the town does on this relatively minor rezoning, we're submitting [the application for scenic byway status]. It doesn't put it in jeopardy. I just don't find that factual."
|WCCRC Invites MBE / WBE Businesses To Be On Approved Contractor List|
|Seeking Grant Writer / Manager|
|Get Grilling and Countdown to Memorial Day Weekend!|
|Open Saurday, May 11, Lunch starting at noon|
|Andes Hotel Announcing Andes BBQ Company|
|A new face at the Pop-Up Market|
|Beeswax + catnip for all at the Pop-Up market|
|Handmade candles and soaps at the Pop-Up Market|
|Celebrate summer's beginning with The Sheep's Nest|
|LIFETIME workmanship warranty on all new roofs!|
|Vinyl siding and roof, Colchester, NY|
|Nominate your house for a free roof by Sunday|
|For rent: High traffic commercial space near Phoenicia|
|Tay Home's first event of the season !|
|MOTHER'S DAY EVENT @ TAY HOME!|
|Fleischmanns' largest street fair of the season comes on Saturday, May 25|
|Re-open Friday with new yummy menu.|
|Artists from the Juilliard School to perform at the Cyr Center|
|Water & Land: May 2013 IPM Workshop|
|Catskills Farmlink: Why Farm the Catskills?|
|Farm Tour: May 17|
|Kick off our 2013 season and the beginning of summer...come to our first performance of the season and get down!|
|Whimsical Metal Sculptures by John Jackson|
|Tamarack log style bedroom set|
|New youth bedroom set, now in stock!|
|New upholstery collection now in stock!|
|Check out our new logo and facebook page NOW! Thanks....|
|Gardenfest2013! And So We Danced...|
|Gardenfest2013! May 11th 10am-3pm|
|Edelweiss exclusive @$519,000|
|Catskill Honeymoon Cottage, exclusive @$149,000|
|How Primroses avoid incest!!!|
|Spring! OPEN! Spring! We've missed You!|
|Picturing America: Free Workshops Continue on National & Local History|
|RAILS TO THE CATSKILLS - Update|
|The 4 Seasons in Kortright|
|This Saturday: Tour a 5th-generation dairy farm|
|MOTHER’S DAY & WEEKEND SPECIALS|